What is the Green Card?

Believed by millions of foreigners every year, the United States grants 55,000 "Green Card" each year. Do you also want to apply?

Whether or not you have an American VISA, here's all you need to know to get the Green Card!

What is the Green Card?

The Green Card is a permanent resident card. The Green Card is a document that gives its holder the right to reside permanently in the United States. In reality, it is yellow in colour and offers its beneficiary all the privileges that an American citizen can enjoy. In other words: The right to “live” in every sense of the word in the United States.

It includes:

  • The right to study.
  • The right to work.
  • The right to move.
  • The right to enter and leave the United States and its borders as it sees fit.
  • The right to retire in the United States.
  • Etc.

Please note that the Green Card does not give you the right to vote in the United States.

How do I get the green card?

The Green Card can be obtained with or without an American VISA. Without Visa, you can get it in four different ways:

  • By marriage.
  • By family ties.
  • By investing.
  • By lottery.

Please note that it is impossible to apply for a green card with ESTA authorization!

With Visa, there is only one way to get it: through work.

How to get the Green Card through marriage?

It is indeed and very common to obtain the Green Card through marriage. But, this procedure is so popular and abused by applicants that immigration authorities have become very distrustful and severe on this subject.

If you choose this alternative, please note that at your spouse's request, you will initially only receive a temporary Green Card, valid for a maximum of two years. After these two years, if you are still married, the validity period will be increased to 10 years.

How to get the Green Card through family ties?

You can also apply for the Green Card thanks to parents permanently residing in the United States. If a family member is a U. S. citizen, whether he or she is your spouse, child, father, mother, brother or sister, he or she can apply on behalf of family reunification and as a "sponsor".

This is done by completing Form I-130 and collecting all necessary documentation, which will be sent to USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) once the registration fee has been paid. Depending on the relationship, you can obtain a Green Card with a validity of 2 to 15 years.

How do I get the Green Card through investment?

One of the safest ways to obtain a Green Card is to invest in the United States through the EB-5 permanent residence procedure. How to proceed? To make it short and simple, you can choose between two alternatives:

Apply as an active investor: in which case, you will need to invest at least $1 million in a business that will require you to hire at least ten people. If your project meets these conditions and if you prove that it is viable for at least two years, you will have a Green Card for this period, renewable at the end of the period.

Apply as a passive investor: in which case, you will have to invest at least $500,000 minimum in a state-accredited disadvantaged centre.

How do I get the Green Card by lottery?

Since 1994, the United States has been organizing the famous "Diversity Visa Lottery Program" to make it easier for everyone to access the Green Card. The green card lottery attracts more than 13 million participants each year and allows 50,000 of them.

To participate, you will only have to register for free by filling out the form available at this address: You will generally get the answer within a year, so, to find out your status, check back regularly on the site.

Please note that if you reside in Canada, the United Kingdom or Northern Ireland, you will not be eligible to participate in this lottery.

Obtaining the Green Card with a Visa

It is also possible to obtain the Green Card through work in the United States. The country issues nearly 140,000 Green Cards for employment each year. The procedure must nevertheless be initiated by the employer who must submit a "Labor Certification". This certification will be used to prove that no U. S. citizen will be able to hold the position for which you are being considered.

The Green Card may be granted to you depending on your status as an employee in the United States. The following are priorities:

  • People with extra-special skills and recognized in the field of sport, business, art and science.
  • Individuals with outstanding and recognized expertise in education and research.
  • Persons coming to occupy a position of managers, executives or managers of companies.
  • Individuals with special and exceptional skills in specific fields (religious, etc.) and skilled workers.

How to keep your Green Card?

Watch out! Watch out! Although the Green Card offers you all the privileges of a U. S. citizen - apart from the right to vote, you should never take it for granted. Please note that it can be removed at any time. So, to avoid this kind of inconvenience, always take care of:

  • Declare your taxes, even if you leave the United States for a long time.
  • Maintain an active life in the United States (bank account, bank card, etc.) while you are away.
  • Ask for a "re-entry permit" if you plan to be absent for more than one year.

Other articles related to the same subject:

First Time ESTA VISA / ESTA USA Applicant?

Update your Travel Authorization?